Sunday, November 23, 2008

Newspapers from Oceania (Australia & New Zealand)

We have been having fun looking at old newspapers online lately. Newspapers are a good source for information as you research your genealogy. They can provide hints about important events during the person's lifetime, and details on mariages, births, deaths, etc. Everyone probably realizes that the US newspapers can be found in several subscription places such as and But where would you go if, for some reason, your ancestors happened to immigrate to Australia or New Zealand? Several of my wife's lines, the Bielefeld, LeBoeuf and Vickery sides, happened to settle in Australia and travel to New Zealand during the latter part of the 19th century. The sites I have listed below are all free to use and do not require a subscription.

PapersPast is a product of the National Library of New Zealand. It can be found on the web at PapersPast contains more than one million pages of digitised New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The collection covers the years 1839 to 1920 and includes publications from all regions of New Zealand. The site is very user friendly and allows you to perform searches by key words, date, region or publication title. One of the things I love about this site is that the pages have been converted to OCR so you can copy the text as the computer interpreted it, directly into your text editing program or genealogy software. Of course the computer is never 100% correct in its interpretation so you will have to compare the OCR against the digital image.

If you have Maori ancestry you can view the Maori newspaper collection at Look toward the bottom of the page to find the link to Nuipepa: Maori Newspapers. This site is written in Maori but does have English translations of the site however, the newspapers are all in the Maori language. It covers the Maori newspapers published during the period of 1842 to 1932

Australian Newspapers Online is a product of the National Library of Australia. This site is currently in beta and can be found at This site has digitised images of various newspapers from all regions of Australia during the period of 1803 to 1954. As in PapersPast, the Australian Newspapers Online compares the OCR text alongside the digitised image however this site has some very cool options that I had not seen before on other sites. First of all, you can correct the OCR text online for others to read. That means that any corrections you find will be permanently included in the online record. Additional options include the tagging of images and the ability to leave comments concerning the article.

These are all very user friendly sites and give us an idea of how online newspaper archives should perform. I know that Australia and New Zealand aren't always the hottest locations for genealogical research, but for those of us who have links to the land down under, these are great sites.

G'day mates!

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